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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Just got 20% ceramic window tint and black vinyl chrome delete on my new, white, 2020 Insight EX. Looks awesome. But...
When I left for work this morning, I could hear an audible “whine” noise when applying the brakes to start the car. Car started in EV mode so the sound was quite noticeable. Drove to work fine. Had the radio up so didn’t hear much to and from work. Then when I got home, I noticed a wet spot in the garage where the front left tire usually sits. I figured maybe the kids/wife spilled something. I parked in the usual spot turned down the radio. When applying the brakes to turn off the vehicle, I noted the “whine” again.

I got out and inspected the fluid. It was quite slippery and thin. Had some smell, difficult to describe. Chemical in nature but I’m not great with vehicle fluid smells. It was hard to distinguish color. On the concrete floor, it just looks wet. There was also fluid inside the wheel well, as though some had sprayed off the tire while driving.

I had my wife press the brakes while I watched and listened near the driver side front wheel. Couldn’t see anything unusual but could hear the whine every time the brakes were applied, even while car was off.
I popped the hood and checked the brake fluid. Seems full. If I’m looking at the right spot. Noticed that the “whine” when pressing the brakes was louder and seemed to be coming from deep in the engine compartment, behind the gas engine, maybe near the firewall.

This will be my 2nd trip to Honda for service. This car has less than 1,200 miles. 🥺 First, a bad mix in the ANC was causing the rear deck (entire car, really) to rattle. Easy fix luckily. Now this.

Ideas? Advice? Anyone else seen this? Think they’ll offer to clean my driveway and garage floor? 😏

Thanks,
Sean
 

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Park the wheel over something white... paper towels, a white towel you do not like. Something like that. The color can help eliminate a bunch of things. Your brake fluid should still be clear with that low mileage. Also you can remove the wheel and put the lug nuts back on and tighten them down. That way you can get a look without the wheel. Unfortunately with the engine bay right there fluids can randomly drip down things and stray away from the source.

Maybe get a video for the noise too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Great idea on the towel, thanks. I put down some white, paper towel and the fluid definitely seems clear or close to it.

According to Siri, brake fluid has a dull, mechanical smell. I’d say that seems to fit the description as well.

I took a video of the sound, not sure how to upload a video here tho.

Thanks,
Sean
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·

Here’s the video, hopefully the link works.
Let me know if this sounds normal.
Sean
 

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I always have the radio on, but that just sounds like a pump to me. Probably just what pressurizes the brake reservoir. When I get home in the morning I can check mine.

The leak however. Brakes suck as they can be hardly noticeable. Even a tiny pin hole leak can cause a huge puddle. Again, your vehicle is rather new so I would suspect an fitting rather than a bad line, but who knows. I would check those, probably focus on the banjo bolt {the bolt that holds the flex brake line to the brake assembly.} They mostly have copper washers and sometimes loosening and tightening that will reseal it and you will never see the leak again. Outside of that, your brake caliper has a seal and it could be leaking from there. Those are even more of a pain to see the leak as the seal is on the inside. Source the leak yourself. Take it in. Do it soon. It does not take much of a leak to render your brakes useless.

And as a final note, brake fluid is the easiest way to strip paint off of your car... so do not go splashing in the puddles.
 

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I haven't pumped the brakes as many times consecutively as in video, but agree that the sound you recorded seems relatively normal. It sounds like hydraulics engaging, which is what you want for braking. Does the sound change for you, or do you hear this same sound in all driving/braking conditions?
 

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Concur with @insightfully - the sound is totally normal. The puddle size is disturbing. I would expect to have seen a lower level in the reservoir with that much fluid lost (with the assumption even more was lost whilst driving and actively using the brakes). Get to the dealer pronto and show them your photos. It can quickly turn into a legal matter for them if they don't fix it ASAP once put on notice. If you want to go in with greater effect, use the free towing to have it flat-bedded in due to the problem being a safety issue with brakes.
 

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And eventually I got home, yup that noise is normal. I did not even start the car and it does that. Again, puddle, not normal.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks guys, I really appreciate the input.

Dealership inspected. Turns out, my strut exploded. Replacing under warranty.

Don’t recall hitting any potholes. Did take a corner a little fast, not enough to lose traction or anything. She thinks it’s a fluke. Lucky me!
 

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Thanks guys, I really appreciate the input.

Dealership inspected. Turns out, my strut exploded. Replacing under warranty.

Don’t recall hitting any potholes. Did take a corner a little fast, not enough to lose traction or anything. She thinks it’s a fluke. Lucky me!
Wow. I wasn't expecting it to be a strut! Congratulations on the fast diagnosis and dealer fix. I've had Hondas go almost 300K without any strut/shock replacement needed. I'd agree it was a fluke.
 

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I too had an oil leak near the left front tire side and noticed it was very clear - not the color of my engine oil. I have 14,000 miles and the car is 1 year old and we have not hit any large potholes or curbs that I know of (the wife drives some, so I would not swear in court to that). Turns out it was the strut.
 

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Just discovered an oil leak at the right front tire. I am certain it is the right strut now. I can hear noises when turning in parking lots that sounds a lot like suspension issues. Will take it into the Honda dealer this week for a fix and update here.
 

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Just discovered an oil leak at the right front tire. I am certain it is the right strut now. I can hear noises when turning in parking lots that sounds a lot like suspension issues. Will take it into the Honda dealer this week for a fix and update here.
Could not get into the dealer when I had time. So far, no more leaks. Will wait and see.
 
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